This is a collection of writings by the giant of experimental cinema, Stan Brakhage, that shows him in a completely new light, as part of world cinema. For the duration of the 1980s, Brakhage contributed to the Boulder literary magazine Rolling Stock, mostly publishing reports from the Telluride Film Festival. These reports show that Brakhage was keenly interested in world cinema, anxious to meet and dialogue with filmmakers of many different stripes.
The book also contains substantial discussion of Brakhage's work in light of the filmmakers he encountered at Telluride and discussed in Rolling Stock. Long chapters are given over to Soviet filmmakers such as Andrei Tarkovsky, Larissa Shepitko, and Sergei Parajanov, as well as the German filmmaker Hans-Jürgen Syberberg. Brakhage was a keen viewer of these filmmakers and their contemporaries, both at Telluride and in his role as teacher at the University of Colorado, and Stan Brakhage and Rolling Stock attempts to place his work alongside theirs and thus reclaim him for world cinema.
The book's appendices reprint letters Brakhage wrote to Stella Pence (Telluride's co-founder and managing director), as well as summaries of his work for Telluride and a brace of difficult-to-find reviews.
Impressively informative, exceptionally well written, thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, Stan Brakhage in Rolling Stock, 1980-1990 is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, community, and academic library Film & Media Studies collections in general, and Stan Brakhage supplemental studies reading lists in particular.
A book of nooks and crannies, Brakhage in Rolling Stock is amply annotated both with notes and White's own essays. In addition to a bibliography and index, the back matter includes a selection of Brakhage's letters to the festival directors, a Telluride filmography, and B. Ruby Rich's prescient review of Hans-Jürgen Syberberg's Hitler: A Film from Germany (1977), originally published in the L.A. Reader in 1980. White also cites a piece I wrote for American Film in 1983, bracketing Tarkovsky with Brakhage and Syberberg as conservative avant gardists, as an inspiration for his book. If so, I have been amply rewarded by the existence of this lively, eccentric volume.